Nilton Renno Seems to Think That Mars Phoenix Has Calibration Issues

Reader note: "I reviewed a presentation given by Professor Nilton O. Renno as part of the Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences division at MIT's Department Lecture Series on September 10th. It was called "Physical and Thermodynamical Evidence of Deliquescence and Liquid Water on Mars." During this presentation many students and professors in the room asked Dr. Renno about the long delay for releasing the science data from the Phoenix lander mission. He responded that when NASA found out he was giving this talk they sent him a multitude of warning emails telling him of consequences if he revealed the embarrassing problems the science team have been having ... "

Update: According to NASA PAO late Tuesday evening:

1. Calibration issues are always a concern for any spaceflight or laboratory instrument. Every instrument that goes into space has some method of calibration. Phoenix is no exception. Typically, data sets are scrutinized after being received, then corrected and validated before being archived.

Every instrument aboard Phoenix, including the cameras, has to be calibrated throughout the mission. The TEGA instrument carried calibration gases on board to perform the necessary adjustments. The MECA instrument is calibrated before the samples are added to the individual wet chemistry cells.

2. The Phoenix data release is no slower than for some other projects. Images come out in real time, and complex data sets lag behind, sometimes for many months.

3. The Phoenix mission has a set of guidelines governing the dissemination of scientific data that apply to all mission personnel. Those criteria include discussing data that has been released through the media or approved for release by the appropriate co-investigator.

4. Peter Smith reminded his co-investigator, Nilton Renno, of those criteria and he responded that he fully intended to abide by the mission's rules and procedures.

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on September 16, 2008 11:41 PM.

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